Financial Whaaat? Financial literacy is a term for learning about money and how to manage it. It covers the key financial pillars of saving, spending, borrowing and planning. Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC) is your business, careers and personal finance center. Here are 5 steps you can take for a financial re-boot:
1. Attend Virtual Money Smart Week, April 10-17
Money Smart Week (MSW) is an annual program with workshops to help you learn how to be smart with your money. It's basic financial education to grow knowledge and skills around personal finance. For 2021, there are daily topical webinars. All events are open to the public and presented in English. Registration for events is free and encouraged. If you don't have access to a computer, here are some other options:
- Dial in to events with your smart phone
- Register for a BPL Public Computer Appointment at Copley (remember to bring your own headphones)
- Try our brand new pilot loaner laptop program. Search “Chromebook Home Connectivity Kit With WiFi Hotspot” to place a hold. This all-in-one kit that includes a MAC laptop, a mouse, basic instructions and a Wi-Fi hotspot (free)
Then, go to Money Smart Week and get registered! Have a question for their experts? You can submit your questions during the registration process. You will also find checklists, toolkits and other pertinent resources.
2. Financial Empowerment Webinars from KBLIC + BPL
Interested to learn about investing in stocks? Wondering which financial aid award letter will work best for your bottom line? Looking for programs in Spanish? We have a series of workshops for your financial education this month.
- Thursday April 8 @ 3:30 p.m. | Stay Safe: Browse with Confidence Online - Learn how to browse, search, log in, shop, bank and click while staying safe
Tuesday April 13 @7:00 p.m. | Borrower Beware: The Ins & Outs of Credit Cards – Babson delivers tips for better credit card management
- Thursday April 15 @2:00 p.m. | Banking 101 – An introduction to banking. You will learn about bank products, opening an account, and more
- Thursday April 15 @7:00 p.m. | Comprensión de las cartas de concesión de ayuda financiera / Understanding Financial Aid Award Letters - In Spanish, with MassEdCO. Aprenda a leer y comprender sus cartas de concesión de ayuda financiera, una parte clave para evaluar el costo de su educación universitaria para tomar la mejor decisión financiera
- Friday April 16 @3:00 p.m. | Cómo simplificar tu presupuesto / How to Keep Budgeting Simple - In Spanish, with Jen Hemphill, host of the podcast Her Dinero Matters - Aprenda los conceptos básicos clave para hacer que un presupuesto funcione para usted
- Saturday April 24 @ 10:00 a.m. | Understanding Financial Aid Award Letters with MassEdCO - Learn to read and understand your financial aid award letters. This is a key part of assessing the cost of your college education to make the best financial decisions
- Thursday April 29 @ 11:00 a.m. | Spring Clean Your Email Inbox - Learn to filter, label, archive and delete your messages. Automate email filing and create easy reminders to reply (e.g. to pay a monthly bill). Clean up your inbox and automate keeping it tidy
3. Help with Taxes & Legal Issues
Good news! The IRS has extended the filing deadline to May 17, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 closure KBLIC and BPL branches are not offering in-person tax prep help. What are your options if you need help?
- The City's Boston Tax Help Coalition offers contactless tax prep. On their website you will find a list of local organizations to call to arrange to drop off your tax documents. Call the place that is most convenient for you to arrange for tax preparation services.
- Action for Boston Community Development is offering help online and by phone.
- AARP has tax help
- United Way has help through VITA - It is free for all filers, with no option for paid add-ons or fees. They have IRS-certified specialists to assist filers. They can connect to a VITA site if you need in-person help.
- See our Tax Forms and Tax Help guide to learn more and find the BPL locations where tax forms are available for pick up.
4. Do You Have Legal Income Tax Issues?
If you are facing a legal tax issue please call the Federal Tax Clinic's intake line at 617-390-1729 to leave a message. They will return your call as soon as possible to let you know if you qualify for help. If you need an interpreter, one will be provided for you. Federal Tax Clinic is one of seven clinics in the Legal Services Center (LSC) of Harvard Law School. Please note, the Federal Tax Clinic does not assist with current year tax return filings, only with legal issues arising from returns submitted in prior years.
If you prefer to ask us your question, you can visit our BPL-LSC partnership program Virtual Drop-in Office Hours: Legal Services Center, Fridays from 10:00-11:00. You can speak in private for advice and referral information. These are some of the issues they cover:
- Housing law
- Tenants' rights
- Disability rights
- Social Security and public benefits such as SNAP
- Veterans benefits and military record corrections
- Divorce, custody and child support questions
- LGBTQ+ related concerns
- Tax issues
- Consumer loan and small claims court problems
- Criminal record sealing or expungement
5. Books & More
We like to share resources to help people continue to learn on their own. Here are some recent booklists and research guides about financial empowerment:
- Empoderamiento Financiero
- How We Behave with Money
- Budgeting for Your Best Life
- Managing Your Money for Beginners
What's your favorite financial empowerment resource? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.